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8 Creepy Urban Legends Haunting Yosemite National Park

You may want something more sturdy than a tent while you're surrounded by these legends.

Who doesn’t love a truly creepy legend that dates back so far that no one really knows where it came from? I mean, obviously you do, because you clicked on this link, and I promise these legends will not disappoint you. As lovers of all things dark, mysterious, and spooky, these eight legends out of Yosemite National Park really got us – and they'll get you, too.

8. The Supernatural Danger That Lurks Near the Park’s Waterfalls

haunting yosemite park
  • Vernal Falls

  • Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

There’s an ancient legend of the Ah-wah-nee tribe about two women who were picking berries at the top of the falls when a mist swirled up. When one of the women moved too close, the wind shrieked and threw her down into the rocky, churning waters. The chief blamed an evil spirit, a siren, known as the Po-ho-no, and forbid his people from wandering near its home.

Waterfalls all over Yosemite have claimed the lives of hikers over the years – so if you’re out walking, beware the Po-ho-no.

Related: 8 Little Known Facts About the Bodies at Pompeii

7. The Haunting of Grouse Lake

haunting yosemite park
  • Galen Clark

  • Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The first documentation  of this haunting comes from Galen Clark, the park’s first ranger, though there seems to be reason to believe it has been around for much longer. His 1857 account states that he kept hearing cries that made him wonder if there was a dog in distress. He questioned a local Native tribe, who warned him away, saying that it wasn’t a dog and he should not go after it.

The tribespeople told him it was the spirit of an Indian boy who drowned in the lake many years before. He calls out to anyone close enough to hear in the hopes of luring them into the lake and dragging them to their death.

6. Yosemite is Home to Bigfoot

haunting yosemite park
  • Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Even renowned anthropologist Jane Goodall has said that she believes that Bigfoot (or the Yeti) could exist in remote parts of the world. And there have certainly been plenty of sightings in Yosemite, like the California Conservation Corps worker who described a terrifying encounter with a 600-pound beast covered in black hair.

As in most reports, though, the creature was easily frightened and retreated as soon as he came face-to-face with a human beings.

5. The Mystery of the Severed Deer Heads

haunting yosemite park
  • Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

In 1998, a ranger for the Backcountry Division had a truly unsettling experience while out patrolling on foot. He stumbled across not one, not two, but three freshly severed deer heads placed meticulously in the middle of the trail. After the first two, he began to grow uneasy, being 30 miles away from his vehicle, but he never encountered the culprit and the mystery was never solved.

Related: 10 More Photos That You Need to Look At Again to Figure Out 

4. The Curse of Tenaya Canyon

haunting yosemite park
  • Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

There are so many unsolved disappearances and mysterious deaths connected to Tenaya Canyon that it’s referred to as the Bermuda Triangle of Yosemite. Why? Well, local legend says that Chief Tenaya cursed the canyon in 1851 after a battle with white prospectors that took the life of his son.

3. “Nightcrawlers” Lurk in the Woods

You’ve never seen anything like these mysterious creatures that walk through the Yosemite woods. They’re eerily similar to a Native American totem. When the Ahwahneechees were questioned, they reported that the “Nightcrawlers” are a peaceful race of beings that came from another planet to rebuild the union between man and nature.

If that’s the case, we obviously need more of them.

Related: Scary Good Book Sales This Month 

2. The Creepy Ghost of a Suicide Victim

haunting yosemite park
  • Photo Credit: Jerome Bon / Flickr (CC)

If you choose to spend the night at camp number six and dare to peek out between the hours of 11:00 P.M. and 3:00 A.M., you might see the ghost of a camper who took his own life, swinging from the wooden door frame to this day.

He left no note, and his reasons remain a mystery.

1. The Mysterious Disappearances of Children

haunting yosemite park
  • Depiction of Wendigo

  • Photo Credit: Alchetron

There have been many children gone missing in Yosemite, which perhaps isn’t that strange… until you hear about the bizarre elements that the disappearances have in common. The kids often disappear around huckleberry bushes, and frequently all evidence is washed away by a storm that quickly follows the incident.

When the children are found, it is always far away and with missing clothing or shoes… but without any scrapes on their feet. Local legends blame supernatural beasts like the Wendigo or Seeahtiks, each terrifying in their own right.

Related: The Mysterious Disappearance of the Beaumont Children 

This story was first published on did you know? 

Featured photo: Bernard Spragg. NZ / Flickr; Additional photos: Jerome Bon / Flickr (CC); Alchetron  

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